Usain Bolt’s dream of becoming a professional footballer has moved a step closer after earning an “indefinite” trial at Central Coast Mariners.
The eight-time Olympic champion has expressed his desire to move into football following his retirement from athletics and will train with the A-League side to try and earn a contract.
The 31-year-old has already trained with several clubs around the world, including Borussia Dortmund, Stromgodset and Mamelodi Sundowns, but his stint in Australia looks to be his best chance of winning a deal.
He said on Central Coast Mariners’ official website: “I am very excited about coming to Australia and would like to thank the owner and management of the Central Coast Mariners for giving me this opportunity.
“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League.
“When I spoke to the head coach Mike Mulvey on the phone he outlined the ambitions of the club and his plans for the upcoming season.
“I hope I can make a positive contribution to the club and look forward to meeting the other players, staff and fans in the coming weeks.
“I always say that, ‘Anything is possible, don’t think limits’, and I look forward to the challenge.”
The Mariners have insisted that the extended trial is not a commitment to a contract, but want to give the Jamaican a chance.
They said in a statement: “The Central Coast Mariners can today confirm that Usain Bolt has committed to an indefinite training period with the club, with the aim to develop the ‘world’s fastest man’ into a professional footballer.
“The agreement between the Central Coast Mariners and Usain Bolt does not guarantee a professional playing contract but does provide the eight-time Olympic gold medallist with an opportunity to achieve his burning desire to play football professionally.”
Chief executive Shaun Mielekamp added: “Our goal is to be the most innovative, entertaining and community minded sports brand in Australia, this is our competitive edge.
“Having Usain Bolt come to the club to train and hopefully develop into a professional football player is perfectly aligned to this part of the club’s philosophy.
“It is important that we don’t get too caught up in the hype of possibilities, but the reality is that Usain Bolt has placed his faith in the Central Coast Mariners to accelerate his football journey.
“Whilst we all know this must be tempered with the reality that there is a job to do and hard work ahead, we are committed to building a team that will win matches and instil belief, hopefully Usain can help us on this mission.”
The Mariners begin their A-League campaign in October.